The Office of Faculty Recruitment and the Provost Office awarded the Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences the 2017 Changing Hearts and Minds award for furthering RIT’s overall commitment to faculty diversity.
Two students, one a participant in the Men of Color Honor and Ambition (MOCHA) and the other a Women of Color Honor and Ambition (WOCHA), shared their Student Insights on both of these unique and dynamic DDI leadership development programs.
The legacy of Frederick Douglass and Isaac L. Jordan, Sr. is present across the community with innumerable accolades of their work and vision. Each of these men influenced transformation during perplexing climates and with visions ahead of their time. This year several students were honored with scholarships as each of them continue to foster a life with purpose and commitment to building communities of inclusion and equality.
Programs focus on creating engaging learning opportunities for all students and their prospective research endeavors, allowing them to satisfy their curiosity and ignite their creativity.
To further assist students seeking graduate school admission and funding, a “Pathways to Graduate School” course was developed and approved. Beginning Fall 2018, DDI students who wish to attend graduate school immediately upon graduation from RIT may enroll in this course. A partnership between the Multicultural Center for Academic Success and the Academic Support Center makes this course possible.
Partnerships in Pluralism: Now in its 13th year, Rochester Institute of Technology has been one of the few universities in the nation to sponsor a program that helps create and deepen diverse partnerships in its community:
Partnerships in Pluralism not only builds campus relationships but it enhances a collaborative and personal understanding of diversity, which can make our community members better people and more effective employees. The program pairs faculty and staff of dissimilar demographic backgrounds* from within RIT, who:
- might not otherwise be able to easily connect with each other; and
- are offered opportunities to become more familiar with each other, both professionally and culturally.
In 2017-18, the program was revamped to offer a menu of short programs, as well as continued structured dialogues and exercises through which participants can get to know each other, thus improving their understanding of the shifting diversity dynamics on campus and across the globe. 62 people registered to participate, and of those, 42 partners were paired.
*Backgrounds include: race; ethnicity; gender; sexual orientation; sexual identity; physical challenges; veteran status; international status; and religious affiliations.
The Office for Faculty Recruitment (OFR) hosted its annual Future Faculty Career Exploration Program on Oct. 2-4, 2017. Over 140 applications were received from 114 different universities across the US and around the world, out of which, 16 scholars were selected to join the FFCEP Class of 2017.
Men of Color, Honor, and Ambition (MOCHA), created in 2013, is a one-year initiative open to all undergraduate male students between their second and fifth academic years of study, but is specifically designed for male students of color. Twenty-one students were selected from a total of 43 applicants comprising the 5th MOCHA cohort.
RIT’s Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program hosted nearly thirty LSAMP students from Monroe Community College, Onondaga Community College, and Cornell University for the LSAMP Power Lab in March. The Power Lab provided LSAMP students an opportunity to learn various techniques and laboratory skills to equip them for undergraduate research positions working in faculty laboratories.
The Destler/Johnson Rochester City Scholars (RCS) program welcomed 32 students into its 8th class, the largest cohort ever! Among the RCS shining stars are the Jaff sisters, Zayneb and Nasreen. They humbly shared their testament of appreciation and praise through a Democrat & Chronicle guest essay earlier in September. Zayneb is currently a sophomore and Nasreen joins RCS as a first-year student.
The Collegiate Science & Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) joined the Division of Diversity & Inclusion in July 2017. CSTEP students continue to be some of the highest performing students at RIT with 54% (88 students) earning a 3.0 or higher GPA and an additional 10% (17 students) earning a GPA of 2.8 – 2.99 in the Fall of 2017.
RIT’s Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) accepted 19 new freshmen from across NYS in Fall 2017. 100% of freshmen who started in Fall 2017 were retained for Spring 2018. Additionally, 47% of freshmen earned HEOP Honors and 32% earned Dean’s List during their first semester.
Race Talks kicked off its 4th year! These talks were facilitated by many talented RIT faculty and staff who, through the genre of video and group discussion, allowed for teachable moments for the RIT community.
Fifteen women were selected from 53 applications comprising the third cohort of Women of Color, Honor, and Ambition (WOCHA). The program has a 97% retention rate since inception with 100% of the seniors graduating each year.
The Future Stewards Program (FSP) provides Native scholars with opportunities to grow academically, professional, and culturally. Since its establishment in 2007, FSP has served over 115 students studying at RIT.
The RIT HHMI Inclusive Excellence 5-year initiative is widening the reach of participating individuals in an effort to build awareness, skills, and communication tactics toward a more inclusive environment. Community Strand Leader, Dr. Jennifer Connelly, and Director of Diversity Theater, Tina Chapman DaCosta, are soon to have completed the first series of Playback Theatre workshops of this 5-year program. Faculty, staff and students from the School of Physics and Astronomy will have taken part in four workshops on topics pertaining to inclusion, unconscious bias, bystander awareness, and concluding with a transformative experiences session. The work of this grant starts with deepening inclusivity of individuals from excluded identity groups in the STEM natural sciences, with the hope that this will eventually spread campus-wide.
Welcoming and flexible spaces are cradles of learning for creative and inquisitive spirits that foster collaborative discovery.
G. Peter Jemison (Heron Clan, Seneca) Historic Site Manager, Ganondagan State Historic Site, shared his experiences and wisdom regarding “Education as a Journey of Transformation.”
For the first time, the Dyer Arts Center at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf featured artwork of Latin deaf artists during the Arte del Corazón exhibit, that coincided with Hispanic Heritage Month. Arte del Corazón featured painting, sculptures, photography, films, drawings and mixed media from artists including Claudia Jimenez, Miguel Diaz Calderon, Rolando Sigüenza, Iris Nelia Aranda and Drago Renteria. The exhibit displayed the works of more than 50 Latin deaf artists.
What an honor to have Norma Holland, 13 WHAM News anchor share her story, career trajectory and advice to students during the DDI Speaker Series.
MCAS Advocates and MCAS Student Representatives play a critical role in engaging and empowering AALANA (African American, Latinx American and Native American) students to successfully graduate from RIT on time while closing the achievement gap. This program increases the communication and collaboration between MCAS (and by extension the Division for Diversity and Inclusion) and RIT’s academic units by pairing successful RIT AALANA students in collaboration with advocates from the colleges (appointed by their respective deans). Together, AALANA students and advocates will be in positions to influence change in their colleges through programming and directed outreach initiatives.
- Currently, there are 15 faculty/staff serving as College Advocates.
- There are two advocates at each of these colleges: CAST, COS, NTID, and SCB.
- There are 28 Student Advocates who volunteer for the program.
- The first MCAS Family Meeting of the year featured representatives from the Advocates program, a monumental kickoff for the year.
- In the fall semester, 10 events were sponsored with total attendance of over 200 students.
Hispanic Heritage Month, kicked off with “Fiesta en la Plaza” at RIT Global Village Plaza with live music, dancing, and authentic Latin food. Hundreds of RIT Tigers and friends joined to listen to the featured band from Taina Asili y La Banda Rebelde. Latin Rhythm Dance Club, a student-based organization also had the opportunity to teach and practice a Bachata choreography with audience participants.
On October 11th, we celebrated Indigenous People’s Day. This holiday is a reminder of what classes failed to teach that Columbus and his fellow explorers enslaved, murdered, and raped Indigenous people. In celebrating Columbus, the US forgets the trauma and pain that Indigenous people experienced. Colonization and assimilation are woven into the history of Indigenous people, and that trauma remains with us today. Since 2016, together, the Native American Future Stewards Program, Italian Program of Modern Languages Department, Lambda Sigma Upsilon Latino Fraternity, ALANA Collegiate Association, and the Native American Student Association, come together to hold a respectful discussion during their annual celebration. Centering on the history of colonization, oppression, and the impact it has had on the Indigenous, Latino, and Italian communities.
Matika Wilbur (Swinomish and Tulalip) inspired and impressed the RIT community as the keynote speaker during Native American Heritage Month. Wilbur focused her keynote on how she started, developed, and collects the personal narratives of thousands of natives. She discussed Project 562, which aims to engage and photograph all 562+ Native American sovereign territories in the United States.
1st Annual Let Freedom Ring: Commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: The event was devised by RIT President Munson as a way for students, faculty and staff to celebrate the federal holiday and complement RIT’s Expressions of King’s Legacy, which has been an annual tradition for 36 years. The Division of Diversity and Inclusion, in partnership with Finance and Administration, commemorated this historic event. The program featured an ASL performance of King’s I Have a Dream speech by Dangerous Signs, songs associated with King and the Civil Rights movement performed by Eastman School of Music students Jonathan Rhodes and Andrew Chen, and remarks from William Davis Jr., who reflected on growing up in a segregated Mobile, Ala., and attending King’s funeral in 1968 while he was a college student. Davis, when King was assassinated, was in the process of pledging Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the same fraternity of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The RIT Diversity Index methodology was developed to measure the comparative diversity of our students, faculty, and staff. Trend analysis is used to capture the story of progress, highlight moments of celebration, reveal areas of concern, establish aspirational goals, and spark campus-wide conversations with meaningful dialogue.
The 36th Annual Expressions of King's Legacy, kicked off with Danielle Ponder & The Tomorrow People, a local band with soul that has performed nationally and internationally. They shared the stage with Reenah Golden, 1997 alumna who has used the power of words, page and stage to affect social and political change for over 15 years. Other captivating moments included keynote speaker, Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, who shared a bold vision of the future, where social progress and the pursuit of equality depend on listening to each other while adopting a fearless attitude toward change. He provides concrete solutions for bringing communities together, along with anecdotes and examples to inspire hope and courage.
Black Heritage Month kicked off on February 1st with performances and spoken word by the Roc Bottom slam team, Rochester’s only PanAfrican performing group, Mounafanyi Percussion and Dance Ensemble, giveaways and food. Later in the month, on February 28th beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Ingle Auditorium, there was a viewing of Teach Us All, a documentary film and social justice movement aimed at providing equal access to quality education for all students in America.
Exposing high school students from various schools to college-career exploration programs like the College, Accounting and You (CAY) has benefited hundreds of students since its inception in 1999 at RIT. This college-career exploration program is possible with the investment and partnership of Rochester’s PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) branch, RIT’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion and Saunders College of Business. As one student shared enthusiastically, “I was really interested to hear how a degree in accounting can help you in so many types of businesses,” said Marie MacDonald, an 11th grader at Young Women’s College Prep. “If you think about it; there are accounting jobs in every industry and every company, so it can really open up a lot of opportunities.”
Partnerships enhance tigers' experiential education through the education and learning spectrum, in a timely approach, while enhancing an inclusive and responsive learning institution to the ever-changing workforce opportunities, both nationally and internationally.
Upward Bound Classic, new to RIT, was funded at $1.28 million by the Department of Education for five years. It will serve 60 eligible high school students from Greece Olympia and the Leadership Academy for Young Men, allowing them to attend a six-week summer program along with specialized workshops and tutoring support throughout their 9th to 12th grade academic experience.
The Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement program received a five-year $1.16 million dollar extension to continue serving a diverse group of highly motivated and talented RIT second- and third-year students who are interested in pursuing post-baccalaureate education.
The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program received a five-year National Science Foundation grant extension totaling $375,000. The program’s aim is to increase the quantity and quality of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) graduates from diverse backgrounds.
The College of Engineering Technology (formerly College of Applied Science & Technology (CAST) partnership with the Division of Diversity & Inclusion (DDI) resulted in an award of $257,250 per year for five years, nearly $1.3 million, for the Veterans Upward Bound (VUB) program through the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education TRIO program. The goal is to serve 125 veterans per year for the five years of the program.
The 2018 American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Region VI conference was held on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). “Inspiring the next generation” was the theme of the 2018 conference. RIT AISES students felt that it was important to encourage Indigenous youth to pursue a major within the STEM field.
RIT CSTEP students participated in the 26th annual statewide Collegiate Science Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) conference. The conference was held April 13-15, 2018, at The Sagamore on Lake George at Bolton Landing, NY. This conference was started in 1992 to highlight the various research where CSTEP students participated, contributed and were exposed to in their STEM fields. RIT joined over 52 CSTEP colleges/universities participating during this year’s conference. Maya Luster, a graduate student, completing a Master’s in Industrial and Systems Engineering, shared her poster presentation in the social sciences category entitled “Investigating the Effects of Lower Back Fatigue on the Change of Human Gait and the Propensity for Slip and Fall.” Luster earned first place in Social Sciences II category with her poster presentation.
Rochester Institute of Technology received the HEED Award from INSIGHT into Diversity magazine for the fourth year in a row! This recognition is for RIT’s successful efforts in campus diversity and inclusion. Universities are judged on the recruitment and retention of historically under-represented students, faculty and staff, improvements to campus climate and specific campus-wide commitments to diversity through programs, informal dialogues and resources.
RIT was recognized as a 2017 Diversity Champion from the INSIGHT into Diversity magazine, one of the first colleges and universities in the nation to receive this designation, now for the third year in a row! Diversity Champions exemplify an unyielding commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout their campus communities, across academic programs, and at the highest administrative levels.
In addition, DDI and RIT received other recognitions, as follows:
2017 Minority Access Inc. Award The award honors colleges and universities that show an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion across their campuses.
Winds of Change magazine recognized Rochester Institute of Technology as one of the Top 200 Colleges for Native American Students for the eighth year in a row.
2017 Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts Communicator Awards. Category: Social Responsibility
I am honored to have been appointed Vice President and Associate Provost for the Division of Diversity and Inclusion at RIT in 2017. I congratulate President Munson on his successful first year. There were several inaugural events in 2017-2018 and one, in particular, was the celebration of diverse alumni during the RIT Creativity and Innovation Alumni Spotlight Symposium who shared how RIT was instrumental in inspiring them. It is evident that our ability to imprint on this world doesn’t stop at RIT. Now, let’s continue our commitment to learning, being innovators, setting new goals and always working on trendsetting projects.
Dr. Keith Jenkins
Vice President and Associate Provost
Division of Diversity and Inclusion